If you’re a Suns fan, you’re a fan of the Phoenix Suns Dancers. I mean, how couldn’t you be?
We see them every home game strutting their stuff during timeouts, but we never know much about the girls behind the pretty smiles and perfect routines.
In that vein I recently traded e-mails with Suns dancer Courtney Quenzler, a junior at ASU majoring in nursing, to learn how long she trained to become a Suns dancer, how she balances being a student with being a pro cheerleader, if she’s actually a big basketball fan and who she’s got going all the way this year in the NBA.
Michael Schwartz: Has it always been a dream of yours to be a Suns dancer or was it something that just happened?
Courtney Quenzler: As an Arizona native, some of my dance teachers growing up were Suns Dancers and it was something that always seemed really fun to do but unattainable. Since I was young and so involved in other dance programs I didn’t really think about the fact that I could be doing it in the future. Then before I knew it I was in college and wanted to continue dancing and performing. I researched the Suns Dancers and immediately felt an attraction to it and the rest is history.
Michael: What did you do to train to become a Suns cheerleader?
Courtney: I have had dance training since I was 3 years old. But the summer before tryouts I attended as many “prep” clinics as I could that were put on by the Suns Dancers, I religiously hit the gym every day, and took extra technique classes at local dance studios.
Michael: Do you have any advice for young dancers growing up in Arizona who one day might want to follow in your footsteps?
Courtney: I would suggest to keep dancing and learn all different styles of dance to make yourself a well-rounded dancer. Always stay grounded and nice to everyone you meet in the “dance world” because you never know when you will see them again!
Michael: What’s the biggest perk of being on the squad?
Courtney: The biggest perk is being able to meet and talk with fans and getting to know them. Being able to help people and/or put a smile on someone’s face by interacting with them is the best part of my job.
Michael: Are you a big basketball fan?
Courtney: Well, I grew up in a huge baseball house. My dad and brother both play and love baseball, so I always considered myself a baseball fan. But, since I’ve been with the Suns Dancers I have become an enormous basketball fan and rarely miss a Suns away game! I love the game; I wish I started watching it sooner!
Michael: You’re kind of a pro and a college kid at the same time. What’s it like to balance being a professional cheerleader with being a student?
Courtney: I have classes in the morning, then games and practices are at night, but I have to stay very organized! My planner has my whole life it in and keeps me organized. I try to stay ahead in all my classes since I am so busy. Since I am a nursing major I’m usually in labs all day then go straight to games, practices, or appearances.
Michael: Is there anything you learn as a cheerleader that you can take into the classroom?
Courtney: Being on the team is a lot of responsibility and discipline. I always have to be on time and fully prepared for practices and games, and I think those are two great skills to also be successful in the classroom.
Michael: Do you ever get recognized on campus by people saying, “Oh my god, you’re a Suns cheerleader?”
Courtney: A girl in one of my classes was at a game one night then the next morning asked if I was a dancer. But other than that one incidence, no! I’m pretty low key and incognito at school.
Michael: Tell me one thing about being a cheerleader that might surprise the average person.
Courtney: Everyone on the team gets along really well and we all have very normal lives. We all work separate jobs and/or are full-time students
Michael: Let’s talk about the NBA Dance Team Bracket. Why should fans be voting the Suns Dancers all the way? (Editor’s Note: The Suns Dancers are battling the Mavs Dancers today in the Western Conference Finals. Go vote. Like now….)
Courtney: The Suns Dancers are such a fun, outgoing, nice, and amazing group of girls. We are so appreciative that we have the best fans in the NBA and would be so honored to have the title of “America’s Favorite NBA Dance Team.”
Michael: Who’s your favorite Suns player?
Courtney: I don’t know any of them personally, but Grant Hill seems really nice!
Michael: Do you have any crazy superstitions before a game?
Courtney: Not really, but before intros at every game we all hold hands and say a quick prayer to take the time to say how thankful we are to be able to be together and perform and to have a good game.
Michael: And finally, I’ve got to ask for a prediction with the playoffs coming up next week. How far will the Suns go?
Courtney: ALL THE WAY!!!!!!